The Republican hijacking of feminist language is pervasive in public sentiment regarding the Amy Coney Barrett appointment. But rank and file Republicans really believe it. They believe elevating a woman to power is feminist no matter what.

It’s the same sort of move Republicans are using (somewhat less successfully) as they tout Trump’s appointment of gay man Richard Grenell to a cabinet level position.

Even though Grenell has a track record working as a consultant and PR person for extreme anti-LGBTQ regimes abroad, and even though he recently joined the staff of an infamous anti-LGBTQ organization in the United States, some people will always believe elevating a gay person to power is essentially pro-LGBTQ.

Just as some people will always believe that elevating a woman to power is essentially feminist.

The question is how to construct messaging that effectively counters this kind of fallacy. It’s easy when dealing with people who are feminists or who sympathize greatly with feminism.

But that’s preaching to the choir in a sense. Reaching people whose views are not well thought out is much more challenging, but perhaps for political purposes much more important.


James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.

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